Free Essay on Milton Friedman's Equality of Opportunity

Published: 2022-04-26
Free Essay on Milton Friedman's Equality of Opportunity
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Economics Government
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 986 words
9 min read

Friedman feels that government should strive for "equality of opportunity" instead of "equality of outcome." How do you feel about their approach? Can you prove them right? Can you prove them wrong?

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I consider equality of outcome or, otherwise, known as equality of results as a concept of politics which sometimes is used in political discourse, and regularly contrasts with the equality of opportunity. Friedman's approach is logical and makes clear sense since equality of outcome is a state where people will be expected to have same income and material wealth or similar economic conditions, an aspect that is impossible. To achieve equal results, there is a need to limit or do away with material inequalities in the society among households, and it will consist of wealth or income transfer from individuals who are wealthy to those who are poor. Equality of outcome can also be a condition where people have equal valuable and central things in life and this is a strategy that is something that the government cannot be able to achieve soon (Cooray).

Instead of trying to give people in the society equal material things, I support Friedman's feeling that the government should try and strive for "equality of opportunity" because it will result to material and economic growth and development of individuals and the society in general. The senses of Friedman's concept can be controversial. Different people with different perspectives in politics take the concept of equality of opportunity and equality of outcome differently. In my own understanding, all the concepts relate to equality. The only difference is for the government to understand what comes first, and what is important to the citizens and the state regarding their growth and improvement. Though equality of outcomes proves to be contentious, equality of opportunity in the selection process entails the removal of arbitrary discrimination (Rushefsky). The concept of equality of opportunity as favored by the Friedman's describes fair competition for good work positions, giving the competitors equal chances to win without judgement or unfair discrimination. Equality of opportunities is mostly applied in situations of work, though in some instances it is used in other sectors like rights for voting, lending and housing. If the government prioritizes this concept instead of equality for outcome, the individuals seeking jobs will have an equal opportunity to contest within the goal framework and the structure of established rules. I feel that the Friedman's are encouraging equal distribution of resources and a procedural value of fair treatment in the society. If the government considers equality of opportunity first, it will offer the people a chance to start the race of life at a similar time. The equality of outcome on the other hand will try to guarantee that the finishing is also at the same time.

Friedman's concept is right in so many aspects as seen in different scenarios worldwide, whereby, states or governments are rotting in corruption and selfishness leading to increased levels of poverty. It is obvious that when individuals are provided with equal opportunities, then the outcomes are beneficial resulting to citizens interdependence and an economy that is well organized. Friedman's concept gives room to effective social policies that can assist in fostering good will and harmony. The public prefers the term equality of opportunity because it revolves around "equal opportunities" as compared to equality of outcome which is viewed to be skeptical (Pan). Equality of outcome does not benefit the society at all because it destroys the individual motivation required to achieve many great things like artistic breakthroughs, new inventions and intellectual discoveries. A motivated employee or citizen will always result to high productivity that will impact the society positively. Fair opportunities in the work place will reduce corruption and result to more greater opportunities for the state. This view proves Friedman's right in many ways because according to him, social status and the wealth of the economy are rewards that are required to spur great activities, therefore, if they are weakened, it is obvious that frequent beneficial activities will be minimal (Friedman).

I cannot prove the Friedman's wrong, however, in some instances, though the two terms are valid, somehow, they are mutually exclusive. This means that choosing one of the concepts will lead to sacrificing the other, and there are some specific inequalities of outcomes that come out because of achieving equality of opportunities. For instance, when the governments try to reach equal outcomes, group discriminations may occur, or unequal results may be seen while striving for equal opportunities. If the government takes equality of outcomes as a benefit to the society with people having different social prestige and levels of material wealth, there will be a big problem in acquiring the right methods to transform the community to proper equality of outcomes. Achieving equal outcomes is not easy since it attracts practical issues, and in other instances lead to political coercion. However, outcomes matter. Striving for equality of outcomes in some instances can lead to positive impact to the society. Lack of equal outcomes especially, in personal wealth, can affect the normal life expectancy whereby, the poor live for a shorter period compared to the wealthy people. Also, inequality of outcome can lead to violence, mental illnesses and other types of social problems. Societies that contain almost equal distribution of wealth and resources seem to carry on much better, thus showing that equal outcomes can develop benefits for the people and the society.

Works Cited

Cooray, Mark. Equality Of Opportunity And Equality Of Outcome. 1996. Document. 05 April 2018.

Friedman, Milton Friedman & Rose. Free to choose: A Personal Statement. PDF. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc, 1979.

Pan, Pu. Resolving the Problem of Poverty:A Comparison between the Ideas of Milton Friedman and Alfred Marshall. PDF. Durham: Duke University, 2010.

Rushefsky, Mark E. Public Policy in the United States: At the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century. M. E. Sharpe Inc, 2008. Book.

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